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Vince Matthews

Photo of Vince Matthews

Inducted: 2011, athlete

Born: December 16, 1947 - Queens, New York

400 m - 44.40
400 m relay - 2:56.16

One of the more prominent long sprinters of his generation, Vince Matthews won a pair of Olympic gold medals in his career. Developing a fierce competition with Lee Evans in the 400m, Matthews was a member of the 1968 gold medal 4x400m relay, which established a world record of 2:56.16. It was a record that would stand for 24 years. Matthews was at his best in 1968. At a warm-up meet prior to the Olympic Trials, he broke the world record in the 400m by running 44.4, but the time was not allowed due to his use of brush spikes. However, it was his performance during and following his gold medal run in the 400m at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich that most people remember. Following his gold medal race, in a continuation of the civil rights protests of John Carlos and Tommie Smith from 1968, Matthews and teammate Wayne Collett, who had won silver, paid little attention to the American flag and were visiting with one another during the playing of the national anthem at the medal ceremony. For their actions, both athletes were banned from Olympic competition by the IOC and therefore unable to defend their gold medal in the 4x400m. Matthews attended Johnson C. Smith University.

1968 Olympic Games: 400 m relay - 2:56.16 (1st)
1972 Olympic Games: 400 m - 44.66 (1st)

undergraduate: Johnson C. Smith University (Charlotte, North Carolina)

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